Explore Pioneer Village Living History in Gonzales, TX.
If you ever get the chance to visit Gonzales, TX, the county seat of Texas Independence (not San Antonio, as many think), be sure to put the Pioneer Village Living History Center at the top of your must-do list. Gonzales is 74 minutes from San Antonio, making it a great day trip.
Gonzalez, Texas, is a small town in South Texas and one of the oldest towns in Texas, but with much to celebrate. It’s one of the earliest Anglo-American settlements in the Lone Star State. Gonzales is the “Lexington of Texas” because it was the site of the first battle in the Texas Revolution and boasts its nickname strongly today.
What Is The Pioneer Village In Gonzales, TX?
Pioneer Village is an open-air living history museum. It boasts a collection of houses and buildings in Gonzales County from the 1800s and early 1900s. Visitors who stroll through The Village will feel like they have just entered the same era.
Each structure has been donated to Pioneer Village and was carefully relocated to the grounds for its preservation. Most of the furnishings and equipment found within these structures were either loaned or donated to help represent the cultural lifestyle of the pioneers who settled in this area. It gives excellent insight into life before we had so many modern conveniences.
You can go inside different buildings of an era, like the blacksmith shop, saloon, and Hamon church, a cypress-sided building still used for special events and weddings. If you are lucky, you’ll be able to spy several demonstrations during your visit, learning how Texans in centuries past lived and worked.
Texas Travel Tip: Make plans to visit Pioneer Village on the first Saturday in October – during the famed Come and Take It Celebration weekend, where you will discover a battle reenactment. More below.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Pioneer Village?
Pioneer Village is super fun any time of year, but the BEST time to go is during the Come & Take it Celebration in October.
Come And Take It Celebration In Gonzales, TX
The next Celebration is October 6-8, 2023
For over 200 years, Gonzales has celebrated this pivotal event. The town center has food vendors, concert stands, and an old-school carnival. A parade marches alongside Civil War homes, and a reenactment plays at the Pioneer Village. It is historical fun for all ages from morning until night.
The Annual Come and Take It Festival in Gonzales, TX, is a celebration that commemorates the first shot fired for Texas Independence.
The live re-enactment of the “come and take it battle” is realistic without it being scary. There are so many people dressed up in period costumes that you might feel out of place in your shorts and tee shirt (and yes, it’s hot in Gonzales, TX, in early October, and that is probably what you will be wearing.)
You can witness the discussion of the community leaders about whether to relinquish their cannon to the Mexican Army or make them “come and take it.” Spoiler alert: It’s the latter.
Guests will witness a battle re-enactment, complete with gunfire and cannon fire. Guests can watch from a safe distance, but you’re still pretty close to the action…it is loud.
Visiting Pioneer Village During Christmas
Another great time to visit Pioneer Village is during holidays when you can enjoy Stars in the Village. We loved seeing the old church decorated for Christmas. On select December nights, you can see Santa, eat cookies, roast marshmallows, pop popcorn over an open fire (seriously awesome, by the way) and see some beautiful Christmas lights.
Please check out the Pioneer Village in Gonzales website to plan your trip.
What’s The Cost Of Pioneer Village Living History Center?
Regular admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children (the website doesn’t specify the cutoff age to get the child rate). Docent-led tours (which I recommend) are just $6 for adults and $4 for children.
Editor’s note: Please check the website for updated prices (if any).
Special events like Lights in the Village and Come and Take It may be priced separately yearly. Check out the Pioneer Village Website or the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce website. More events are happening throughout the year in this small town in Texas. I hope you can make it to Gonzales, TX, soon!
We got lucky on a cold winter afternoon and had the place (and the docent) to ourselves.
More Info On The Pioneer Village
Pioneer Village works closely with the city of Gonzales and is a nonprofit. Donations on top of the admission price are welcome.
You can also check out the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce website to discover what’s happening in town when you pass through. Be sure to read the event section for upcoming events in town. There’s a lot to see!